By BV Swagath
Pakistan closed Day 2 of the Second and Final Test at Harare on 163 for 3 in 68 overs. The match has hardly moved forward today with the visitors batting pretty slow against an ordinary class bowling attack of Zimbabwe. Opener Khurram Manzoor and Younis Khan worked hard to score fifties as Pakistan brought down the deficit to 131 runs with 7 wickets in hand.
Zimbabwe looked to have bounced back in the final session when a well set Khurram Manzoor was run out following a mix up with Younis Khan soon after Tea. Pakistan were reduced to 96 for 3 with still 198 runs needed to wipe off the first innings deficit. An interesting thing to note that Younis Khan has been involved in the two run outs that Pakistan have had so far in this series.
A toothless Zimbabwean attack couldn’t sustain the pressure on the experienced pair of Younis and Skipper Misbah who saw through the day’s play without much trouble. Towards the end of the day’s play, the three Zimbabwean pacers were looking very pedestrian, bowling quite slow in the air. Off spinner Propser Utseya managed to extract a fair amount of turn which would only excite the likes of Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman during Zimbabwe’s second innings.
By the close of play on Day 2, Younis Khan has moved onto 52* (from 127 balls with 6 fours) while Misbah is on 27* from 88 balls. Younis also crossed 7000 Test runs during the course of his partnership with Misbah. The pair of Younis and Misbah has added 67 runs for the unbroken stand for the 4th wicket to defy the Zimbabwean bowlers. Pakistan are still trailing behind by 131 runs in the first innings going into Day 3 which is indeed very slow progress.
Update at Tea on Day 2: Khurram Manzoor got to his 4th Test fifty to lead Pakistan’s reply to Zimbabwe’s 294. The right handed opener got to 51 not out by Tea to steady Pakistan to 95 for 2 in 37 overs. Giving him company is Younis Khan, who is on 13*.
Pakistan were put on the backfoot in this afternoon session with Mohammad Hafeez jabbing at an away going delivery from left-arm quick Brian Vittori to first slip in the 11th over. Hafeez scored 22 from 29 balls in an opening partnership of 29. Just moments after drinks in the post lunch session, Tinashe Panyangara’s indipper defeated Azhar Ali (7) to trap him lbw in a frontfoot defence to leave Pakistan at 62 for 2.
Zimbabwe failed to make any further inroads as Manzoor and Younis saw through the rest of the session without any problems. The only negative of the Pakistani batting was their ultra defensive approach against the inexperienced Zimbabwean attack.
Update at Lunch on Day 2: Pakistan are off to a confident start from its openers Khurram Manzoor and Mohammad Hafeez in reply to Zimbabwe’s first innings total of 294. The openers saw through 8 overs to take Pakistan to 24 for no loss.
Earlier, Zimbabwe added 57 valuable runs for the last two wickets with the tail enders prolonging the hosts’ innings for nearly 20 overs this morning. The first success for Pakistan came in the 7th over of the day with Prosper Utseya hooking Junaid Khan to long leg after an 82-ball 22. The innings came to an end 13 overs later when Tendai Chatara was lbw playing outside the line to an arm ball from Abdur Rehman. Chatara scored 21 from 64 balls while no.11 Brian Vitori contributed 19*.